I had intended staying at Mantika Hotel after reading reasonable comments from other travellers but when my taxi from the airport arrived in the pouring rain, it appeared to be closed. In the end, this didn't matter, I realised Mantika was in the Raba area rather than central Bima so I asked my taxi driver to take me back to Lambitu Hotel.
The hotel is typically of many with rooms around a central atrium. The cheaper levels of room, while clean and comfortable, do not have an external window. As I was planning to stay for three nights, I decided to pay slightly more than I intended and get a 'junior suite' with an external view. It was a large, comfortable room with good bathroom, fridge and T.V.
Lighting was poor, but when I asked, light bulbs were changed immediately. The 'suites' are on the third level at the back of the hotel, away from any central noise.
Staff at the hotel are very friendly. My only complaint was the breakfast - very poor; cold toast and cold coffee.
Lambitu Hotel is right in the centre of Bima - walking distance to the main bus terminal, night food stands and the main shopping strip.
If you have no need to stay in Bima town centre, then Hotel Mutmainah is the best choice. The hotel is located in suburb Raba, at 3 km from Bima market. While we were there, a NGO held a conference at Mutmainah.
The older rooms are in a converted house, a row of additional rooms has recently been built in the spacious grounds. The rooms are well equipped with rather posh furniture. Hot water system worked perfectly, but we found a toilet seat defective.
Rates (July 2011):
In the new extension: one presidential suite at Rp 990,000 , one suite at Rp 675,000, seven VIP rooms at Rp 450,000.
In the converted house: one VIP room at Rp 450,000, several superior rooms Rp 330,000.
As we stayed more than one night we were offered a 10% discount.
The hotel has a good, airy restaurant, which serves a buffet breakfast (included) even if occupancy is low.
A souvenir shop specializes in original Bima apparel. In the courtyard one can daily admire a young woman weaving traditional cloth.
There also is a swimming pool, but it stood empty. When we asked about this, they said they had been cheated by the man supposed to install the water filter system.
Sape is the harbour town on the east coast of Sumbawa, from where the ferry leaves to Labuhan Bajo on Flores. If you travel overland to Flores, as we did, you may need to stay a night over at Sape. The ferry leaves only once a day, at 8 am.
Unfortunately there is no satisfactory accommodation at Sape. Most popular is Losmen Mutiara, which has the advantage that it is located right at the entrance to the ferry harbour. But we found the rooms dark, damp and bare (except for the one VIP suite with squatting toilet priced at Rp 350,000).
So we looked for an alternative and found it at Losmen Mustika. Check it out if you have no problem with the distance of 1 km from the harbour. The rooms are clean. Best is room #4 - spacious with AC, bamboo easy chairs and daylight - going for Rp 150,000 a night, but unfortunately with squatting toilet. If you want a western toilet you have to make do with room #3 for the same price, with AC but without chairs and daylight.
The losmen is run by a pious muslim family. They have a “canteen” which is to say that the mother is willing to cook a dinner for her guests, but only if they order well in advance. The alternative is Restaurant Arema, close to the harbour, which also has internet.
The father of the Mustika family, Haji Wahid, said he owns some small islands at 1.5 hour from Sape and is looking for an investor to help him develop them. For Rp 500,000 he offers a day tour to one of the islands.
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